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Author Topic: Praise for THE EIGER SANCTION in The New York Times  (Read 4789 times)
KC
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« on: January 18, 2004, 11:51:52 PM »

In Sunday's New York Times (Jan. 18), the Arts and Leisure section featured an article by Bruce Barcott (a contributing editor at Outside magazine) about the forthcoming moutaineering film, Touching the Void. Here's an excerpt from the beginning ...

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January 18, 2004
You Think That Other Mountain Was Cold?
By BRUCE BARCOTT
 
NOT long ago I asked a friend who climbs mountains for a living to name his favorite climbing movies. He paused. "Man, they're all so awful," he said. "It'd be easier to give you a list that started at bad and went down to very, very bad."

When movies meet mountains, bad cinema results. Consider "Vertical Limit" (2000), which finds mountaineering so dull that it adds nitroglycerin into the mix. Or "Cliffhanger" (1993), the Sylvester Stallone vehicle propelled by evildoers and stolen loot. The 1997 television adaptation of Jon Krakauer's classic Everest book, "Into Thin Air," proved so unwatchable that the rescued climbers probably outnumbered the audience by the end.

The singular exception remains "The Eiger Sanction," Clint Eastwood's 1975 spy thriller set on the north face of the Eiger, a sheer Swiss alp that is one of climbing's most deadly proving grounds. Mountaineers revere the film, which was released on DVD last year, because in the third act Mr. Eastwood climbs the Eiger himself. The action was so real that a falling boulder killed one of the movie's climbing crew on the second day of shooting. What makes "The Eiger Sanction" respected by mountaineers also makes it compelling to the rest of us: the actors didn't act; they climbed. That, it turned out, made a pretty good movie.

It's only taken three decades to make another one. In "Touching the Void," which is to open Friday in New York and Feb. 6 in Los Angeles, Kevin Macdonald has stitched together elements of documentary and dramatic re-enactment to create a film that should satisfy both moviegoers and the crampon crowd. Mr. Macdonald, who won an Academy Award for "One Day in September" (2000), his documentary about the 1972 attack on the Israeli Olympic team in Munich, did it by employing the Eastwood rule — put the climbers on the rock.

The article goes on to say that as part of his preparation,

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... Mr. Macdonald screened previous mountain movies and noted all the ways they could go wrong. "The crevasse in 'Vertical Limit' doesn't even look cold," he said. The two films that impressed him were "Eiger Sanction" and Werner Herzog's "Scream of Stone" (1991), about two climbers battling to notch the first ascent of Cerro Torre, a terrifying granite spire in Argentina.
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Perry
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2004, 11:02:20 AM »

HI;
         It is revered for that reason which was interesting and I respect that, but it is not a good movie. I dont know too many Eastwood fans who like that movie. It is maybe the slowest paced movie of Eastwood's ever with exception to maybe Firefox which is  brutal too. The movie was a major dissapointment from the novel and even from the premise, plot and actors involved Eastwood was over his head on this one,

                 P
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2004, 12:13:43 PM »

Perry,
Can I disagree with you? I like the Eiger Sanction. Ok, it is maybe not the greatest movie ever made, but consider this; it has wonderful cinematography, a great sense of danger and a cracking twist. It also has quite a witty script which makes me laugh each time I watch it. The John Williams score is great (Eastwood said he thought it superior to Jaws - judge for yourself on that). Also, it has a great integrity to it, simply because the actors are really there in those stunning locations - no crappy special effects. That really is Clint and George Kennedy on top of that rock pillar, and when the camera pulls away the effect is simply breathtaking. :)
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Doug
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2004, 11:43:45 PM »

Perry,
Can I disagree with you? I like the Eiger Sanction. Ok, it is maybe not the greatest movie ever made, but consider this; it has wonderful cinematography, a great sense of danger and a cracking twist. It also has quite a witty script which makes me laugh each time I watch it. The John Williams score is great (Eastwood said he thought it superior to Jaws - judge for yourself on that). Also, it has a great integrity to it, simply because the actors are really there in those stunning locations - no crappy special effects. That really is Clint and George Kennedy on top of that rock pillar, and when the camera pulls away the effect is simply breathtaking. :)

Ditto to everything you said.  It's a decent movie with some very special qualities, such as the aspects you mentioned, the score, the cinematography, the climbing sequences...

Perry, did you happen to see when we had a film discussion on this movie?  I think it starts on page 4 of "Previous Film Discussions."  You should check it out.  Anyway, I've always liked the movie a lot.  
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2004, 04:39:24 AM »

I don't much appreciate mountain climbing apart from the the terrific views , but I don't think you have to be a great fan of outdoor pursuits to enjoy this movie .  

When you consider Clint was going to abandon the movie altogether after a climber died , the end result could have been an awful lot worse , maybe his heart wasn't in it , but he caried on ,  that's the professionalism of Clint.

By far the most enjoyable aspect is the lines Clint delivers as Hemlock , some of the funniest lines in a Clint movie .

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HEMLOCK: If you'll just give me your name, I'll report it to the proper authorities when we land.

JEMIMA: Jemima.

HEMLOCK: And I'm Uncle Ben.

JEMIMA: I'm serious, that's really my name! Jemima Brown. My mother was hooked on being ethnic.

HEMLOCK: Or else turned on by a pancake. As long as we both agree that it's too much for a black chick to have the name of "Jemima".

JEMIMA: Oh, I don't know... I mean, people don't forget you when your name is Jemima.

HEMLOCK: I don't think people would forget you if your name was Alfred.




 
« Last Edit: January 22, 2004, 09:00:00 AM by Bill W » Logged
Perry
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2004, 12:22:48 PM »

Hi guys:
                 To each his own.....ha ha .....I actually almost forgot Vonetta McGee who played Jemima was prob the best looking actress Eastwood had in any of his movies. If you can name one..IO'd like to know.....
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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2004, 07:48:38 PM »

One thing I loved was when Clint and George Kennedy get to the top of one of the rocks they trained on, and George tells Clint that they've got beer.  Clint says how? and is informed that he is the one who hauled it up.  Clint complains about the beer being warm and George Kennedy says: 'Yeah, well I draw the line at hauling ice!'   ;D
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2004, 11:40:30 AM »

I agree . Whilst not a mountain climber I can appreciatte why these guys love the film so much .
I also enjoy it on it's own merits ( mountain stuff aside ) Yes it has its flaws but I'm one of those few fans that really like the film . It's great to have it on dvd .
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2004, 02:53:41 PM »

So as you can see Perry there`s quite few people who like this film. ;)
However I know what you meant when you said it was dissapointment because I used to think that way too after I had seen the film the very first time.
It certainly is not as good as some of the other Eastwood`s films of the 70`s were(are).
I began to appreciate Eiger Sanction after I watch it couple of times from DVD.
I also like the film`s score by John Williams.I think it one of he`s best(that I`ve heard).
Locations and the scenery is beautiful and the acting is quite good too.
I`ll bet the fact that I like this movie isn`t too big of a surprise considering what my nickname is on this discussion board ;D ;D
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« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2004, 02:07:57 AM »

The Eiger Sanction has an easy going charm that rewards repeated viewings. One only has to compare it to the now well nigh unwatchable James Bond movies and other espionage thrillers of the era to realise the quality of Clint's achievement. The characters are memorable you can't get actors who work off each other as naturally as Cilnt and George Kennedy from central casting. Vonetta McGee is great as the feisty and sexy Jemima and who could forget Jack Cassidy, father of David as the openly gay Miles Mellough. Thayer David is Clint's creepy boss Dragon. Could this be the first time an albino is portrayed  as a threatening and freakish  villian? ???
« Last Edit: July 06, 2004, 03:32:03 AM by bertram » Logged
philo
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« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2004, 07:38:01 AM »


I have friends that are not especially Eastwood fans and they feel that the Eiger sanction is not politically correct for today and that is why it is not liked as much as others.
I don't agree either way, as I saw it in the 70's and have my memories of then.
It does have stereotypes, but I wouldn't call it offensive.


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« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2004, 06:55:32 AM »

Man, I have to TOTALLY disagree about The Eiger Sanction.  Yeah, it's a somewhat over-the-top action spy film, but yet vastly entertaining.  I loved this film when it first came out and have seen it countless times since.  What people usually fail to remember is that this movie (like so many of Clint's) is filled with humor and tons of great lines.  

And the cinematography is breathtaking... from the scenes in the US when Clint is getting into shape to the actual climb on the Eiger, the scenery is great.  

Yeah, it's not the deep serious film like Unforgiven or Mystic River, but like other underappreaciated Clint movies (like The Rookie), it's a fun action flick with a tough Clint character.  

I'm old enough to say that I have seen almost every Clint movie on opening weekend, and can say that I've only been somewhat disappointed twice.   And those movies were Firefox and Pink Cadillac.
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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2004, 02:12:03 PM »

why firefox? - i thought that was great (oops i know off topic) it was kinda similar to the eiger sanction in the spy story
« Last Edit: July 11, 2004, 02:14:09 PM by vik » Logged

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KC
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« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2004, 04:16:20 PM »

This thread IS straying off topic ... it was originally started to call attention to an article in The New York Times about The Eiger Sanction. If anyone wants to comment further about the movie itself or about its standing among Eastwood's films, the right place would be the General Discussion forum.
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